Where’s the Magic in the Alexander Technique?

91 where is the magic pic1

There is a kind of magic in the Alexander Technique.

It’s a small magic that usually tip-toes up when you are not expecting it(*), and gives you a sudden burst of something wonderful.  It could be your pain goes away, your leg lifts higher, you take in more breath, your movement flows more, you feel calmer and more stable.  Or it could be a more mental sort of wonderful; you realise something that troubled you doesn’t have to trouble you any longer, you have a different way to tackle a problem, something new becomes possible.

Where does this magic come from?

Well, consider the story of a lady with lots of ongoing pain in one hip, and a pronounced limp.  Her first lesson was a lovely experience.  We talked through some Alexander Technique ideas, I did some hands-on work, and her limp very nearly went away.  Barely noticeable.

Her response: “It’s like magic!  You hardly did anything, you just put your hands here, and put your hands there, and my limp went away.”

That seems pretty clear.  The magic comes from the teacher.


A week later she came for her second lesson.  She showed me her walking, and the limp had come back in between times (which is normal at this stage of a student’s learning).  So we reviewed the Alexander ideas, the reasoning, the questions and directions.  Just talking, no hands-on.  Off she went again, to walk across the room, and once more her limp had all but disappeared.

Remember – no hands-on work this time.  Just a verbal reminder of the new ideas.  So where does the magic come from now?  It can’t be from the teacher.

My magic or your magic?

Answer: your magic.   You, the student.  Always your magic.  You may need a little help to achieve it, but that is all a teacher can do, give a nudge towards something that is in the student to start with.

Always your magic.


(*) there is a broader, longer-term magic that you only really spot when you look back over a period of time, and contrast you now with you then, but hey, one ‘magic’ blog at a time.


Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

CNHC and ITM registered Alexander Technique teacher.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in everyday life, improvement
6 comments on “Where’s the Magic in the Alexander Technique?
  1. Beautiful, Karen. Your magic, your student’s magic, and then the magic that’s created between both of you.

  2. Thanks, Mark. You know, I’d totally missed the ‘created between you’ aspect! Glad you mentioned it.

  3. Fran Engel says:

    I’m not sure who said it, but I think it’s a quote from the science fiction era and my memory attributes it to Issac Asimov. Something like: “Any technology coming from an unknown direction is always first considered to be a form of magic.”

  4. Martin Green (student of Jennifer Mckerras) says:

    Hi Karen. I had a magic moment the other day. I actually felt a lot more confident and relaxed. My teacher Jennifer suggested for homework that I practice directions at the bus stop and when I get off the bus and walk to the gym. I have found though that it is difficult now not to keep asking myself “What do I need to do?” without attempting to do them, most of the time. I will persevere as I want quality of thought rather than quantity of thinking.

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